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How to Be an Antiracist

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  104,777 ratings  ·  11,423 reviews
Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. ...more
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by One World
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Ibram Kendi
Ibram Kendi - author, Nonfiction

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Dan Emery I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, as it places the struggle against racism into a global historical context. I'd say that the discussions…moreI would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, as it places the struggle against racism into a global historical context. I'd say that the discussions of tensions between African Americans and recent African migrants and the chapter on colorism would be of interest to a British reader. Because the book is in some ways autobiographical, it rests on some context specificity, so some of the concrete details might be opaque.(less)
Nick Kendi released a book club kit last month! It has some great discussion questions, his own antiracist reading list, and a syllabus with recommended re…moreKendi released a book club kit last month! It has some great discussion questions, his own antiracist reading list, and a syllabus with recommended reads based on topic. Direct link to the PDF:

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Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I appreciated this book and felt disappointed by it too, so if you want a non-controversial review scroll over to something else for now. I felt most grateful for Ibram Kendi’s argument that you either are racist or antiracist and there’s no real in between – that by passively being “non racist,” you collude in racism by allowing racist policy and ideology to persist. He applies this argument to several pertinent issues such as the racist nature of standardized testing, police brutality, interse ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, five-stars
It is only fitting that this book is being released after the past several weeks of racists attacks by politicians and mass shootings in the name of White Supremacy. After witnessing these acts many Americans will say "I'm not like that, I'm not a racist. I don't have a racist bone in my body". Ibram Kendi’s newest book addresses that mindset. In his follow up to Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Kendi argues that the dichotomy of either being a racis ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
It´s not enough to just one deem oneself no racist, it´s the action, self-reflecting, changing habits, thoughts, ideologies, and activism that matters.

Some of the main points:
Showing that each ethnic group can be racist, not just white people.
Defining the important term of anti racist instead of just being not racist, leading to active improvement instead of passive stagnation and thinking that just believing is enough.
Rethinking many of the stereotypes and prejudices regarding how society deals
Carolyn Kost
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Some cultures mandate that rape victims must be killed and adulterers stoned; that females shouldn't be educated, drive, or show their faces in public. Some cultures revere nature and strive to live in harmony with it while others endeavor to control it down to the chromosomal level and/or pollute indiscriminately. Some produce the Magna Carta and Shakespeare and others dissolve into violence and a failed state. Despite these self-evident facts, Ibram Kendi's [postmodern] foundational principle ...more
Always Pouting
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Someone lent this to me because they found it really useful and resourceful for thinking about antiracism especially in the context of doing organizing. I did enjoy the reading the book but I also think personally I had been exposed to a lot of these same ideas already, especially by women of color activists/organizers. So while I think it's a really good book for anyone still trying to gleam out their own concepts of race and how to actively engage with racism, I didn't come away with that much ...more
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book on audio and it is narrated by the author, so I highly recommend that format. Although I fully intend to buy a physical copy in order to tab it up for future reference as well.

This is an excellent book that covers not only the history of racism in the United States, but also both the individual responsibility and systemic responsibility for racist ideals in society. I was pleasantly surprised by how intersectional it is as well, as it discusses intersections of ethnicity
mark monday
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'll start off with a mea culpa: I came to this book with some cynicism. Some of that due to my very bad experience with the execrable White Fragility, a gross book that demeans Black people, generalizes about White people, and that sadly has a similar level of popularity. Some of my cynicism was also due to my admiration for Coleman Hughes, a Black contrarian who wrote a pretty negative review of it.

Oh how wrong I was. I loved this book. I had issues with some of its stances, but by the time I
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Disclaimer: In no way am I trying to undermine what the Black community has gone through. I can’t fully judge the content in this book because I haven’t experienced the racism, discrimination, and prejudice that Black people go through every day. These are just my opinions on the book itself, not the topic. To find ways to support Black Lives Matter, visit this website.

This book is important. In a world where just sitting back and letting racism go its own way is “not racist,” it’s essential to
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received an ARC via Netgalley.

Shortly after I finished this book, I put a quote from it up on the board in my classroom. At one point, Kendi argues that white supremacy is also anti-white and a form of genocide on whites. This is in addition to the attacks on non-whites. The interesting thing is that the black students (I use black because not all of the students are American citizens) were all nodding their heads, and the while students were all WTF.

But that idea of challenge of
I’m going to need some time to properly review this but for now, GO READ THIS BOOK!!
Elyse Walters
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The entire book is powerful - valuable - informative - engaging - straight to the point -
I own it....and am keeping it.
I purchased these books… ( knowing nothing specific)....
the Audio and physical book ....
knowing I was going to have a book discussion.
I was PLEASANTLY surprised how much I enjoyed every moment of it! ( Cheri....thank you, to you too, for encouraging me to read it: Ali and Adam had already started their reading). I jumped right in.

Discussing this book (and others on this topic)
Traci Thomas
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
So great. What an amazing human Kendi is. His ability to reflect on his own racist actions and thoughts is profound. I love his approach and think his insights are fantastic. The use of memoir with the definitions of types of racism and antiracism are really smart. I really enjoyed this book, though if you’ve read Stamped from the Beginning (his previous book) you may find this one redundant or slightly more elementary. If you haven’t attempted Stamped because it’s intimidating this might be a b ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Dancing in the Street

I stopped to ask an elderly black man
that was walking down the street
In a small southern town
“Are you a Jehovah’s Witness?”
“Why, yes, I am.”
He was not wearing a suit, nor a tie.
Nor did he carry a briefcase.
I just knew because I used to be one of them.
“I have always admired the Jehovah’s Witnesses,
They are antiracists,
and mingled with one another. “
“Here in the South
we have separate congregations.”
I was disillusioned.
This was in the late 90s,
Even schools were integr
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is so much in Kendi’s book that is useful and challenging.

"One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” The claim of “not racist” neutrality is a mask for racism."

"THIS BOOK IS ultimately about the basic struggle we’re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human."

"The source of racist ideas was not ignorance and hate, but self-interest."

Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kendi's theme is that anti racism can not be achieved in society by well intentioned people observing people of colot's success and changing their racist ideas to make society more equal. It can only come through policy change. Each individual black person has felt the onus to be an upstanding citizen, as if the power of equity rests on their shoulders. Each person's actions will lead to equality or nonequality. This notion is wrongheaded and has been promulgated by studies from the thirties and ...more
Raphael Nelson
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
While the initial premise of this book is relevant and essential to building policy against racist policies the book seemed very surface level. There were multiple experiences (having a him pointed at him on the bus, his religious journey, his college experience) that felt rushed in with tidbits that doesn’t do these rich experiences service. Unfortunately felt like this was a book aimed at white liberal rather than a text that was appropriate for multiple audiences. He makes a weak argument tha ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING and was captivated by Ibram X. Kendi's intellect, acuity, and straight talk. I left that book seared and shaken.

This is a much weaker outing, organized haphazardly, and unclear about its focus; a memoir; textbook; history book; wake up call?

There is an old adage that Eskimos have 40 words for snow, and each word describes a distinct type of snow; important information when your survival depends on knowing and understanding snow. Kendi is working to bring s
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I pre-ordered this book the day it was announced because I loved Kendi’s first book, but then I delayed reading it because I thought it was going to be a lecture and that it would go over familiar material. That’s not what the book was. It was a fascinating memoir that is pretty humble and humane. I like that he searches his past for his mistakes and how he brings compassion to this topic. This one is probably required reading.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roman Clodia
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With protests over George Floyd taking place as I type, this book could hardly be more timely. Kendi's intervention into current race debates is to expose any assumed position of neutrality as subterfuge: there is and can be no position of 'non-racist', 'colour-blind', 'post-racial', he argues: the only viable opposition to racism is to be actively and consciously antiracist.

What makes this such a strong book is that it is also a confession: Kendi's antiracist stance is hard-won and actively st
It happens for me in successive steps, these steps to be an antiracist.

I stop using the “I’m not a racist” or “I can’t be racist” defense of denial.

I admit the definition of racist (someone who is supporting racist policies or expressing racist ideas).

I confess the racist policies I support and racist ideas I express.

I accept their source (my upbringing inside a nation making us racist).

I acknowledge the definition of antiracist (someone who is supporting antiracist policies or expressing antira
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
So you've dipped your toe in the anti-racist syllabus with Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility and now you're ready for some meatier fare. Ibram X Kendi is arguably the most recognized name in the growing anti-racist awakening that is gripping the West right now. But he wasn't always its greatest champion. Here he reflects on his own past, buying into racist ideas of laziness and lack of effort keeping Black people down in an inflamed and righteous sounding speech he made in high school. His own co ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gonna elaborate on why I was not a fan of this book. I'm sure there are people who will find it beneficial. I was not one of those people. I would never recommend this book for three primary reasons.
1. Dr. Kendi essentially wrote a memoir about his own racial identity development with a sprinkling of theory and unfortunately, his personal narrative and the theory would be better served as being two different books.
2. In his quest to tackle the harm of internalized racism this book spends a lot o
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kendi won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for Stamped from the Beginning—a history of racist ideas by progressive intellectuals including Frederick Douglass, and E.B. DuBois. In this book, Kendi examines his own intellectual journey to believe that there are only two categories of people in society—racists and anti-racists. Racists are people who allow racist ideas to grow without opposition. Anti-racists actively fight racist ideas.

Kendi highlights the myriad of ways that racism is embed
Aoife - Bookish_Babbling

Pain is usually essential to healing. When it comes to healing America of racism, we want to heal America without pain. But without pain there is no progress.
(I am well aware racism is an issue worldwide but the author is American and thus his quote in this case is specific)

Plenty food for thought in this insightfully intersectional somewhat autobiographical look at how our own preconceived notions colour how we see the world - becoming antiracist will be a permanent work in progress as we must
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
"What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what -- not who -- we are.”

2021-22 Book: 'How to Be an Antiracist' | UC Davis

Ibram X Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist contains much of what I'd read in Stamped from the Beginning, but alongside his personal narrative. In that way, he shows how his thinking has evolved and how people can move from an awareness of racism to become antiracists. One of the things that surprised me was his chapter on gender. I thought it worked really well here in addressing how we can move t
Jun 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
There are some valuable ideas in this book, but it's not one I'll be recommending without some major caveats, especially to white folks new to anti-racism conversations.

ETA: I recommend Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race instead - I think it covers most of the valuable stuff, avoids the pitfalls, and offers more concrete suggestions for action.

My biggest concern: I can't take an anti-racism book seriously if it's going to talk as if anti-white racism is a real thing. And this book spe
Andrea Brooks
Mar 21, 2020 rated it did not like it

Good idea to recognize the individual versus the race/group/etc. but this book equates racism/racist ideas with being conservative and/or republican/homophobic. So many times in this book the author does exactly what he is trying to get everyone away from - generalizing ideas to an entire group rather than the individual.
The impetus for me to read this book was a book group I belong to on Goodreads which made a special focus for the month for readings on “Black Lives Matter.” “How to Be an Antiracist” as a title might be inviting for many but was off-putting to me. Sounded too didactic and directive rather than personal and experiential, but that was wrong. Yes, there is a lot of effort to achieve well-founded definitions and principles about the many layers and dimensions of racism, but the narrative is well-le ...more
Chris Blocker
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've a longstanding interest in Malcolm X. There were many aspects of his character that fascinate me. One is the transformation he made in the final year of his life—his second awakening, the birth of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. In these days, el-Shabazz embraced the idea that there were other factors that went into making one “a devil,” not merely one's ethnicity. His overnight change of heart opened up considerable possibilities, a movement with a more unified front. I always wondered where el- ...more
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Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. He is the host of the new action podcast, Be Antiracist.

Dr. Kendi is the author of many highly acclaimed books including Stamped from the Beginning: The

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“The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'anti-racist.' What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.” 163 likes
“Black people are apparently responsible for calming the fears of violent cops in the way women are supposedly responsible for calming the sexual desires of male rapists.” 115 likes
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